Diocese of Ohio Announces 3 Nominees for Bishop

By John Schuessler

Three female rectors — one from the Diocese of Chicago and two from the Diocese of Newark — have been presented as candidates to become the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Ohio. They are:

  • The Rev. Anne B. Jolly, rector of St. Gregory’s Church, Deerfield, Illinois;
  • The Rev. Dr. Elaine Ellis Thomas, rector of All Saints Parish, Hoboken, New Jersey; and
  • The Rev. Diana L. Wilcox, rector of Christ Church, Bloomfield and Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
Anne B. Jolly

Jolly, in addition to her work at St. Gregory’s, is president of Chicago’s Standing Committee and has been the head of the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese in the absence of a bishop. The Rev. Paula Clark was to become the diocesan in April 2021 but has been recovering from a stroke she had just prior to the consecration, which is now scheduled for September 17. The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee Bishop of Chicago, 2008-2020, is now the bishop provisional in the Diocese of Milwaukee.

Before St. Gregory’s, Jolly served Good Shepherd, Austin; St. Paul’s, Chattanooga, and Christ Church, Greenville, South Carolina. She worked in software and technology sales and recruiting before her ordained ministry. She and her husband, David, have been married for 30 years and have three daughters.

Elaine Ellis Thomas

Thomas, rector of All Saints since 2018, went to Hoboken from St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she was associate rector and chaplain of Episcopal student ministries at the University of Virginia. She was a central figure in the clergy response to the white supremacist events in the summer of 2017. She spent time at Coventry Cathedral in England and in Cape Town South Africa at the Institute for Healing of Memories, studying and training in reconciliation methodologies.

She is president of the Standing Committee in the Diocese of Newark. Prior to ordination, she worked as part of the executive leadership team at Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia and served for many years as an organist and choirmaster. She is married to Timothy, and has a daughter, Rachel. Her son, Seth, died by suicide in 2009. His struggles with depression deeply inform her ministry and advocacy for treatment and care of those with psychological and emotional challenges.

Diane L. Wilcox

Wilcox has been at Christ Church since 2014 and has served other churches, large and small. She was vice president of the diocesan council, has been a member of  the Cross Roads Camp board, and was a chaplain at Montclair State University, where she lectures occasionally. National appointments include the Constitution & Canons legislative committee and the Special Committee on Sexual Harassment & Exploitation.

She is the author of a children’s book, Why Isn’t God A Girl? A Young Girl’s Journey To See The Image Of God In Herself, published by Imagine & Wonder. Prior to ordination, she was a management consultant for large multi-national companies.

Nominations by petition are being received through August 30. An election to choose a successor to the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth will be held November 19 during the diocese’s convention. Bishop Hollingsworth is expected to retire sometime in 2023.

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